Monday 24 January 2022

Bible Book:
2 Samuel

The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside still waters; he restores my soul. (Psalm 23:1-3)

2 Samuel 18:1-8 Monday 24 January 2022

Psalm 23


Today we focus on Psalm 23. In Israel/Palestine in biblical times, shepherds would know their sheep well. They would be with the flock from childhood and, with most of the flock being used for wool and milk, the sheep would have a long life. The shepherd would be with the flock all day every day, and give each sheep a name. They would travel 5-10 miles a day in winter, seeking pasture; the shepherd would remove rock and briars to help more grass grow next year. After spring, there would be insufficient pasture near the villages, so in the summer, the shepherds would lead the sheep to the hills for weeks, where grass could be found on the north-facing slopes.

In the hills of Judea, in the south of the country, water in biblical times could be found in wells and gullies and from 12 springs; but the shepherd would always seek still waters, as fast and deep waters were dangerous for the flock.

The shepherd would carry a rod and a staff (Psalm 23:4). The rod was a crook to retrieve sheep trapped on dangerous ledges, and it was used to check for injuries at night, as the sheep passed under; any injuries would then be soothed with oil (Ezekiel 20:37; Leviticus 27:32; James 5:14). There would be danger from wild beasts, so shepherds had a staff, which was a club with metal spikes. They were expected to risk their lives for the sheep to such an extent that they had to take parts of a sheep from the mouth of a wild beast to show the community that they had done all that they could to save the sheep (Exodus 22:13; Amos 3:12).

A Roman-era gold ring has just been found of the coast of Israel/Palestine with an early Christian symbol on it: it shows Jesus, as the Good Shepherd, carrying a sheep (John 10:11; Luke 15:3-7).


To Ponder:

  • Why did Jesus speak of himself as the Good Shepherd?
  • How has God shown God’s care for you?


Dear God, we thank you for your deep love and commitment to us. We thank you for Jesus, who came to show the shepherd’s love for us, and who laid down his life in his ministry of caring for the lost and vulnerable. In the name of the crucified and risen Jesus, Amen.

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